We started our hike at Middelplaas (De Rust) on Friday morning at 9.45 in slightly drizzling weather. It takes a while to sort out the logistics of getting a car to the end of the hike. Greg and Cheryl kindly offered to leave their bakkie at Buffelsdrif and Tony and Evie picked them up. The 60 km drive along the dirt road from Buffelsdrif to Middelplaas takes at least 90 minutes.

The hikers: Tony Bowen, Kyle and Dave Underwood (for CREW), Cheryl and Greg Devine,  Evie Bowen, Clive Louw and myself (Karin van Niekerk – leader)

We had cool weather and light rain most of the day. Distance hiked (according to Tony’s GPS) 16.9 km in  6 hours 7 minutes. The hike up the valley is very pretty with beautiful rock formations but not much in the way of plant diversity.

When we crossed into the Kammanassie reserve there was a sign to remind us that we were now entering a world heritage site for the Cape Floral Region.

Crew members Dave and Kyle Underwood.

The jeep track has eroded badly and in places completely washed away. Towards the end of first day it is very overgrown. A big fire swept through the valley 2 years ago and the vegetation along the jeep track in the river valley grew back very thick, in places completely obscuring the jeep track. I don’t know if it will be passable at all in a year’s time.

First part of the hike through the kloof  – scenic grasslands. Evie and Cheryl saw some mountain zebra running away.

We found a flat, sandy place to camp on Friday night and we all settled into a comfortable camp next to the river in Bakneskloof. Some sensible hikers did some grass clearing (gardening) for a flat comfortable bed while others left the grasses in place and had a lumpy restless night. Clive decided it won’t rain and brought his bivvy bag instead of a tent. He survived the drizzle and fortunately Saturday was warm and sunny to allow him to dry his wet equipment along the way to the next camp.

Early morning in Bakneskloof – our camp.

Saturday – the 15.2 km hike took 8 hours 34 minutes (Tony’s GPS) to an elevation of 1302 m. (We had started the hike at 520 m elevation on Friday).

Pristine fynbos, beautiful views and great weather. We camped below a ridge where there was small trickle of water. Tony and Evie pitched camp an hour earlier than the rest of us.  Tony had eaten something the night before that didn’t agree with him and he felt quite ill during the hike on Saturday.

Heading in the direction of Kammanassie peak on Saturday (cloud covered – the jeep track visible on the far left)

Sunday morning:

Clive, Greg and Kyle climbed the ridge peak above our camp. Dave hiked along the ridge looking for plants for CREW. He found lots of interesting specimens and hopefully some rares. Tony and Evie caught up with the rest of us at our overnight stop.

Greg on his way down from the ridge

Cheryl and I hiked back along the jeep track to pick up another old track that runs on to the plateau above Kleinberg. We had a lovely walk and beautiful views. (Looking north from Kleinberg with the Swartberg in the distance).

By midday we started packing up for our hike back down the mountain.

The road down, looking south towards the Outeniqua mountains.

5.8 km 2 hours 37 minutes (Tony’s GPS). We were back at the bakkie by 3 pm and back at Middelplaas just before 5 pm.

Thank you to all the hikers who came along and contributed making it such a great hike!

Karin van Niekerk – meet leader

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